Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UniShow for Young and Old

On November 3rd we left Minnesota and headed east with a full load in our truck and trailer. Our first stop was Elizabeth, New Jersey to partner again with a city councilman who has a heart to creatively impact his community. Over the years, we've done youth and family events with him. This time, our UniShow was at a senior center where this younger councilman has been building relationships for over a decade.
Dustin and a few of his new fans.
We joined the senior's Monday morning gathering at the O'Donnell Dempsey Center. They cheered and clapped throughout the whole show and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Dustin was able to share about the only thing that has filled the emptiness in his heart: his relationship with God. Many of these older people live alone and don't have family nearby so it was special to bring them some joy and remind them that God loves them. Afterward we received many hugs and kisses and even heard, "This is the most beautiful show I've seen in my whole life." 
 



The seniors loved the show, though Dustin was only half there during the last act.
From there, we drove to Virginia for an elementary assembly for Fresta Valley Christian School students. We knew the school's music teacher from when she used to attend our home church in Minnesota. She made the connection for us to share with their students while we were in the area. Since the school is still in the process of building their gymnasium, they bused the students 20 minutes to a church who graciously opened up their gym for the assembly. 




A few short days later, we parked our truck and trailer with our road-show equipment in Washington DC.  From there, we packed our "fly show" and took off to Brazil for the next adventure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

3.14 Collective tours Kosovo

From 23 September to 7 October 2017, we were on the ground in Kosovo for the first time in 6 years! In the past we had great tours there and were sad when local partners moved on, leaving no one to organize events. A new worker moved into the country and through patient wisdom, he has built great relationships with many Kosovar pastors who actually asked for the UniShow to come partner with them in ministry!

Our group of 9 from Australia, England, USA and South Korea presented 9 shows combining unicycling, dance, music and drama for over 2,000 people. We chose 3.14 Collective as our team name because Colossians 3:14 says, "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Unity in the church and beyond seems to be under attack in Kosovo so we made it a prayer focus and God did bond our team.

Some shows were in cities with no believers or church, where pastors used our events to connect with locals and expand efforts to plant churches. For some shows we partnered with small existing churches, helping them connect with and invite others to their fellowships.




We spent a full day presenting at Prishtina High School (which is not just a high school). Though he couldn't share about God, Dustin challenged students during our elementary assembly to use their abilities to help others. We heard afterward that students said, "This was the best day of my life!" and "We were so inspired!" Dustin shared more in the 4th and 5th grade class. When he was asked "why you do what you do", he was free to share openly about Jesus. One boy asked incredulously why Dustin wasn't happy when he achieved his World Champion medal. The student was very impacted, even saying he was going to cry and got teary-eyed when Dustin told him that only Jesus can fill the emptiness in our lives, no matter how much we have or what we accomplish.  We also presented to the high school Arts Society.


Dustin was able to be totally open with the Gospel message in most of our shows. During several he was even allowed to lead in a prayer of surrender to Jesus. After an event, one of our partners told us that our kind of show, open Gospel presentation and public prayer had never been done in that city before. A local pastor thanked us for coming out of our way to share hope. He said no one special ever goes there to encourage people.



In another city, a local church member has been building a friendship with the hodja (the Muslim cleric of the city). He invited the hodja to our show and was surprised that he came! The hodja was excited afterward and said he felt a Power that he had never felt before. He wants to meet with local believers and talk about working together on projects!



Dustin had the opportunity to share in a live interview at a radio station, which was also broadcast live on Facebook. Since the secular station is run by a believer, he was able to openly share about the hope, unity and fulfillment Jesus offers.

Katie met a girl in a coffee shop because they had the same kind of hair style. Katie invited her to our show the next evening and she came early and stayed till the end! They talked afterward and Katie was able to share more about the Gospel with this student and her friends and pray for them. This student was very thankful, saying no one has ever prayed for her before and she was going to think about all that she heard.


One of our partners who has been a foreign worker in Kosovo for 4 years, told us he was amazed and inspired by our shows because he had no idea believers could be as open and share the Gospel as publicly in Kosovo as we did. Another pastor thanked us for coming to his city, saying we were able to reach more people in one hour than he would be able to do in many years. 






Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rain, Leaf blowers, Squeegees and a Show



The world got a little smaller for us this August 18, 2017 when we partnered with Dove Westgate Church in Pennsylvania for a community outreach at the old train station in cute downtown Ephrata. Outreach organizers from Dove Westgate had participated in the same YWAM ministry at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland the past few years with us and had the idea to bring us in for their local event. It was almost overwhelming to reunite with so many whom we've only seen in Switzerland.

Rain was in the forecast on August 18th so we were all watching the weather closely. Indoor options were not available so organizers made the call to proceed in faith that the show could go on. We arrived several hours prior to the event to set up. Almost immediately, torrential rains and wind put a halt on progress. We waited out the rain until it seemed all was clear. We began to set up equipment while others swept, squeegeed and used leaf-blowers to dry off the pavement. Things were starting to dry when another rain dumped on us.

After a second round of sweeping, squeegeeing and blowing, the pavement was nearly dry and ready for the UniShow. Several hundred came to the event and enjoyed food and music from the church, along with the UniShow.

Despite the stress surrounding the show, we are thankful for the opportunity to share in the Ephrata, PA community. Afterward several individuals talked to Dustin at length, thanking him for his message and testimony that hit them right in the heart.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hombro a Hombro 2017


Every 3 years our home church Grace Church Eden Prairie leads an exciting outreach in Lima Peru, serving hombro a hombro (shoulder to shoulder) with the Callao Church.  This was Dustin's 7th and Katie's 5th time on this outreach.  From 22-30 July 2017 our team of 100 from America joined several hundred Peruvians as we shared the love of Jesus in Lima and Callao.  

In these 7 days we presented to 7,350 people in 15 events.  Through the various outreaches, our team saw over 1,450 people indicate decisions to follow Jesus!  We had a full schedule with a parade to start the week out followed by multiple shows a day in different locations.


Through singing, dumpster drumming, kids games, dramas and of course unicycling, we presented the Gospel in parks, streets, a medical rehab center, church festivals, soccer fields and hospitals.







In addition to the performances, teams painted homes and prayed with their owners.  Others hosted a marriage seminar for couples and a day of events for kids with special needs.  Skilled doctors performed 50 complicated surgerys, as others on the medical team cared for hundreds of sick people.  Every act of love and service was accompanied with prayer and sharing of the Gospel.


New brothers in Christ!
It was great to reconnect with friends we've made over the past 18 years.  It's always fun to see other young unicyclists at the Callao church who have been inspired by Dustin.  As we have in other years, we left some unicycles for others to continue to learn.  

We praise God for the soft hearts He prepared in Peru and for the many people who chose to surrender their lives to Him.  We rejoice with the angels!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chocolate, Cheese & Jazz


We joined a team of 100 people from 20 nations in Switzerland for outreaches at the 51st Montreux Jazz Festival. This Regeneration outreach began 10 years ago by a small team from YWAM Lausanne and has grown into a powerful presence at the Jazz Festival.

From July 2-15, 2017 we shared the love of Jesus with people from all over the world. Our team played music, danced, unicycled and acted on 3 different stages throughout the festival, all along beautiful Lac Lèman where vendors and buskers busied crowds.


The original "stage" of Regeneration is next to the Bible Kiosk which is a permanent fixture in Montreux and open year round. The driveway to the Euro Hotel right in front of this Kiosk provided a nice open space for our performances. We were interrupted only occasional by a car driving into the underground hotel parking. We also sometimes had to work around handicap vehicles parking in the nearby spots.



TrEd making noise for Jesus.

The Covered Market, or Marchè Couvert in French, is the other venue we presented in each night. At the end of the length of the festival, and elevated just off the beaten path it was difficult to draw crowds at times but the roof did allow us to continue performing and sharing even on rainy days.
    




MoMo the Eskimo wows crowds with her unicycles, too!
During the middle weekend of the Jazz Festival we were able to use a great stage out in the thick of things where we drew the largest crowds.



Luzanne lighting up the skies with her ribbon dance.

We personally had the privilege of meeting and praying with many families vacationing from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, a lady from Egypt, a clown from Italy, Syrian refugees, local Swiss people, a couple from our hometown Edina, guys from New York, England, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and Russia, to name a few.

Throughout these 2 weeks, our team gave out 120 Bibles in many languages, distributed refreshments, prayed with 325 people, painted faces, manned bouncy castles and much more. The best part was that almost 40 people prayed to surrender their lives to Jesus for the first time! We are so thankful for this amazing opportunity to share God's love with so many people and we pray seeds scattered will turn into much fruit.